On April 25 and 26, 2016, respectively, the Donald Trump campaign was sued in two separate TCPA class actions filed in the Northern District of Illinois. See Thorne v. Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., No. 16-cv-4603 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 25, 2016); Roberts v. Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., No. 16-cv-4676 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 26, 2016). Both actions allege that the Trump campaign sent unwanted text messages to consumers without their prior express consent, and without providing the disclosures required by the TCPA. In particular, named Plaintiffs claim to have received the following text message to their cellular phone: “Reply YES to subscribe to Donald J. Trump for President. Your subscription will help Make America Great Again! Msg & data rates may apply.” The actions further allege that the Trump campaign sent these text messages en masse to thousands of other wireless consumers.
The cases differ in certain key respects. The Thorne action does not specify how the named Plaintiff came to receive the alleged texts, and seeks to certify a nationwide class of all individuals who, during the last four years, did not provide their cell phone numbers to the Trump campaign but nonetheless received the text message. By contrast, in Roberts, Plaintiff admits to providing his telephone number to a business called “Event Brite” when he signed up to attend a Trump rally in Chicago; however, he claims “Event Brite” never obtained his prior consent to send the text message at issue. He seeks to certify a class of similar individuals who, since June 2015, provided their cell phone numbers to Event Brite to attend a Trump-related event. With the upcoming general election for the presidency fast-approaching, these two actions may serve as a warning sign of future actions along these lines by other political campaigns seeking to rally support and contributions through the use of calls and text messages.